A new study, published in the latest issue of the journal Child Development, suggests that such early experience of hunger in the family is likely to make those children less ready for kindergarten than their classmates who came from homes with enough to eat. It shows that kids who experienced food insecurity in their first five years of life are more likely to be lagging behind in social, emotional and to some degree, cognitive skills when they begin kindergarten.
And many previous studies have shown "that kids who enter the kindergarten door behind, tend to stay behind. They do not catch up," says Anna Johnson, a psychologist and an author of the new study.
Among 6- to 12-y-old children, food insufficiency was associated with poorer mathematics scores, grade repetition, absenteeism, tardiness, visits to a psychologist, anxiety, aggression, psychosocial dysfunction, and difficulty getting along with other children.
Among 15- to 16-y-old adolescents, food insufficiency was associated with depressive disorders and suicide symptoms. Recently, food insecurity was associated with poor social functioning.
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